Does Obama's India visit worry Pakistan?
Obama's remarks in an interview with PTI ahead of his visit to India dominated the weekly briefing at the Pakistan foreign office, with spokesperson Abdul Basit seeking to downplay the comments. Basit insisted that Pakistan's relations with the US should not be seen through "the prism of US-India relations." "Pakistan's relations are independent of what is happening between US and India," he added. Text: PTI
Asked to comment on Obama's remark that he sees India as a cornerstone of America's engagement in Asia, Basit said, "We just concluded the third round of the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue and that made it very clear that the US is interested in having a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan. We are not very worried about Obamas comment."
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Basit insisted that Pakistan's relations with the US should not be seen through "the prism of US-India relations."
"Pakistan's relations are independent of what is happening between US and India," he added.
Image: US President Barack Obama speaks to PM Dr Singh in Washington, DC
Pakistan mum on Obama's stay at the Taj
Replying to another question on Obama's remark that Pakistan has a "special responsibility" to act "transparently, fully and urgently" to bring the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks to justice, Basit contended that Islamabad was "sparing no effort" in this regard.
Basit refused to interpret why Obama would stay in the Taj Hotel, one of the targets in the Mumbai attacks, during the inaugural leg of his visit. He noted that the Kashmir issue is a "major concern" for Pakistan, which is hoping that Obama's visit would help in contributing to efforts to resolve the long-standing dispute.
In response to several other questions on Obama's visit to India beginning on November 6, Basit said Pakistan was hopeful that stronger relations between New Delhi and Washington would foster peace and stability in South Asia.
"If India is a strategic partner of the US, we feel that their relations could be helpful in promoting peace and stability in South Asia. We are confident that President Obama is conscious of that and his visit to India would help to promote peace and stability in South Asia."
Image: The US has been pressing Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks to task
Photographs: Reuters/Arko Datta
Pakistan hopes for fair treatment from international community
"But we strongly believe that there should be a level playing field for all countries and Pakistan has been insisting on getting the same treatment from the international community on civil nuclear cooperation as has been made available to India," he said.
Image: Obama with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari
Photographs: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
'India has never shown serious commitment to settle the Kashmir dispute'
Basit said, "Such conciliatory but vague statements are not unexpected given that President Obama is visiting India on November 6. The people of Pakistan and Kashmiris are familiar with such gimmicks that least impress them.""The irony is that India has never shown serious commitment to settle the Kashmir dispute. In fact, its stance and statements on Kashmir are loaded with contradictions," he added.
Image: At a recent AICC meet, Sonia Gandhi emphasised on the need of a meaningful dialogue with Kashmir
Photographs: Reuters/B Mathur
Pak welcomes 'special US envoy for Kashmir'
It was a matter of "serious concern" that India "continues to ride roughshod over the United Nations charter and universal declaration of human rights."
In response to another question, Basit said it was for the US to decide on appointing a special envoy for the Kashmir issue. "This proposal had been considered in the past. So we would welcome it if this happens," he said
Image: Separatists in Kashmir want Obama to intervene in problems faced by them
Photographs: Reuters/Danish Ismail